What do Vermonters expect these days from an "Eat Local Challenge"? Some may associate it with self-denial - after all, not everything we enjoy can be sourced locally. But at its most basic, the month-long ELC isn't an endurance contest: It's about being mindful of origins and selecting as many items as possible from area farmers and artisan producers. This September, participants are asked to pledge themselves to increasing the "food dollars" they spend in Vermont.
And in Addison County, they're celebrating it with a feast. As Jonathan Corcoran puts it, "We really want to reach out past the choir this year." On September 6, from noon to 4 p.m., the Addison County Localvores kick off their challenge with a harvest festival on the Middlebury Town Green, featuring a potluck, music and informational workshops.
Experts will teach participants how to raise poultry in their backyards, harvest wild edibles and tie flies suitable for catching local fish. According to Corcoran, "It's a real attempt to help people deepen their commitment to eating local in September, but also throughout the year. We're helping people put food by, and do things people used to know how to do and need help with."
Want to work off those locally sourced calories? The same crew is planning a unique bike tour of Shoreham-area businesses for September 21. On this "Tour de Farms," participants peddle to a slew of area ag ventures, including Champlain Orchards, Golden Russet Farm and Lincoln Peak Vineyard, on a 10-, 25- or 30-mile loop. Will they burn as much as they consume? Adult registration is $15 in advance, $20 on the day of the ride.